Batsworthy ruling must be challenged

The Government inspector’s decision to overturn North Devon District Council’s refusal of planning permission for the nine turbines at Batsworthy Cross must not go unchallenged.

Anita Allen from Knowstone is absolutely right (“Batsworthy wind farm decision overturned”, Gazette, October 24) – the whole community must rally to the call and challenge this decision, made by one man, who admits that every objection was justified yet bases his decision on “the benefits of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and the need for new renewable electricity generation projects”.

The inspector’s remit is to examine whether the conditions for refusing the planning permission were valid. His conclusion validates every objection.

It is not part of the examination procedure to introduce his personal opinion, based on unsubstantiated statements by others, that turbines have a beneficial effect on changes to the atmosphere or that turbines are a viable, renewably fuelled means of generating electricity.

Nobody knows what the reduction in the so-called “greenhouse gas emissions” due to the installation of these turbines will be.

The reason they are being built is the government “target” decreed by a bunch of politicians in Brussels. The clamour to build them is triggered solely by the huge subsidies available to the builders.

Even if the gas emission claims are valid, our national savings will not mean that we have a little low emission area over the British Isles.

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With the Chinese building coal-fired power stations as fast as they can and India and the USA ignoring the gas emission claims altogether, the global effect of the turbines is zero and there is no case whatever for desecrating Exmoor in order to build them.

One common factor in the claims made for wind turbines is the number of homes they are rated as being able to power. Fullabrook was claimed to power 30,000 homes and Batsworthy 8,700 homes.

These claims, on which their planning applications were based, appear to have made some totally unjustifiable predictions. Our home, a small three-bed terraced house, with only two occupants, with all the recommended insulation in place and with only two exposed walls, last year used 2,636 kWh of electricity. We have gas cooking hobs and gas central heating.

The average home therefore uses around 3,000 kWh each year and considerably more for family homes or luxury dwellings.

This means that Fullabrook needs to generate at least 30,000 times 3,000 kWh of electricity to power these homes for a year.

Fullabrook has now been operational for a year. What is the net amount fed into the National Grid?

Apparently, at times of low wind speeds the turbines are driven by taking power from the grid in order to make it possible for the wind to get them turning as soon as it gathers strength.

Will the relevant statistics ever be made available to the public? What is the total annual “renewable energy” obtained from all the turbines which now infest the South West? What percentage is it of the total power consumed?

Why is domestic consumption measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) whereas the power output of a generator is quoted in kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (MW)? Is this another ploy to confuse the customer?

DW Almond


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